Broadband and it's "business model"

  Tim1964 23:53 11 Jul 2009
Locked

Had a thought today about the way the BB business is run.

We pay an ISP for BB that is "up to 8 meg" which of course is dependant on distance/line quality for the actual speeds, but now that BB should no longer be considered a luxury and that the government is getting involved (increasing phone line rental to boost BB availability) should this be the case?

For example, if Weetabix marketed a packet of 48 biscuits that were "up to 48 biscuits" but it depended on how far from the factory you lived as to whether (for the same price) you might only get 3 bics in the box, is this right and how long do you think they would stay in business?

Or if you electricity supplier said that you can have 240 volts if you live next door to the electricity substation but only 150v if you live 3 miles away (for the same price) would that fly?

Or, if petrol was 10p/litre in Scotland (where it's sucked out of the sea) but 100p/litre in Cornwall, would that petrol station stay afloat?

These companies supply a product and it's up to them to get it to the customer at their expense, it's not the customers problem just because of where they live.

Of course in the dial up days it probably didn't make that much difference but the ISPs are now selling at a fixed price a product that is inconsistent.

  brundle 00:22 12 Jul 2009

The variability in line speeds is purely down to the copper cabling in the existing telephone network - but it's relatively cheap to install broadband equipment providing ADSL. Laying fibre optic cables which don't suffer signal attenuation and therefore provide broadband at a more reliable speed (I won't say fixed, there are plenty of people with cable broadband who complain that their speeds are not what's stated on the contract) to any noticeable degree for domestic links is expensive. Hence the 50p tax on phonebills proposed by the government, someone has to find the money to install new infrastructure.

  brundle 00:24 12 Jul 2009

Should have read that through before clicking Send....just to clarify -
"Laying fibre optic cables which don't suffer signal attenuation.......to any noticeable degree for domestic links is expensive."

  Tim1964 00:43 12 Jul 2009

That's the thing. Unfortunately when BT installed the copper wires a 100 years ago (!) they had no idea what was coming. I wonder if there is some kind of hardware that could be installed along the lines to 'boost' the speeds somehow?

It looks like wireless (3G) might be one solution. By turning the whole of the country into a massive wireless network then at least it would be a level(ish) playing field with everyone being the same 'distance' from a base station.

You're right about the fibre being expensive. I live on a 3 year old development of over 300 homes, just north of the M25, and the NTL cable runs past the entrance!!!

  D@ve 01:43 12 Jul 2009

You seem to be taking a rather simplistic view of the situation.

"These companies supply a product and it's up to them to get it to the customer at their expense, it's not the customers problem just because of where they live."

What do you expect the ISPs to do? Build more telephone exchanges / lay fibre optic cable with money that doesn't exist???

The country will be completely layed with fibre one day, but that will be a long time yet!

  laurie53 07:19 12 Jul 2009

"if petrol was 10p/litre in Scotland (where it's sucked out of the sea) but 100p/litre in Cornwall, would that petrol station stay afloat?"

Poor analogy.

Petrol does differ in price according to distance from the refinery, and transport costs, just like BB.

Ask those in the Highlands and Islands.

  octal 07:48 12 Jul 2009

Doesn't 3G also suffer from contention as well?

"Research from broadband communications firm Epitiro recently found that the average download speed achieved with mobile broadband was just under 1Mbps (megabit per second).

At 0300 this average rose to 1.8Mbps, illustrating that contention issues - how many people use the service at any given time - plays a big role in limiting speed.

On average mobile broadband users were only getting a quarter of advertised speeds, found Epitiro's study."

From click here

So agreed, it's not the distance from the base station, but now it's down to the number of people using a particular cell which knocks speeds down, you can't win.

  bobbybowls 09:02 12 Jul 2009

I think I read/heard somewhere that north sea oil was the wrong sort of oil for refining into petrol.
As Laurie 53 said the further away from Grangemouth you are the more expensive the petrol.

  Forum Editor 09:18 12 Jul 2009

of a service that starts by being a desirable luxury and is so successful, and so desirable that people begin to consider it an essential.

There's no doubt whatever that fast internet access will eventually be available to anyone who wants it, but we're not there yet. The reason is that internet access is provided by commercial organisations, and they, like any other business, want to trade at a profit - it doesn't make commercial sense to invest a couple of million pounds to provide fast broadband connections to 20 people in a remote village in the Scottish highlands.

"These companies supply a product and it's up to them to get it to the customer at their expense, it's not the customers problem just because of where they live."


Well, it's only up to the companies to "get it to the customer at their expense" if they feel it's commercially viable, and yes, it is the customers' problem because of where they live.

  paddyjack 10:31 12 Jul 2009

Everybody seems to talk about cable, but I was just wondering what happened to the tests that I think Scottish power was conducting putting Broadband through the national grid?

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